Bulgaria's Ruse Receives First Austria-Turkey Container Block TrainBusiness | April 9, 2012, Monday // 18:56| views
Pictured: the unloading of the first containers ever to arrive in Bulgaria on unit train at the Yana train station in Sofia. Photo by Transport Ministry
The freight train station at the Bulgarian Danube city of Ruse has received its first ever container block train, also known as a unit train, which will be transporting goods from Austria to Turkey.
The container block trains, also known as unit trains, are still a new means of freight transportation in Bulgaria, with the first ever such train for the country having been received only in September 2011, at the new intermodal transport terminal in Bulgaria's capital Sofia.
The Austria-Turkey freight unit train transportation service is a joint project of Austrian, Hungarian, Germany, Bulgarian, and Turkey railway operators, the Bulgarian State Railways BDZ announced Monday.
The 17-car train has a total of 34 large 45-foot containers. Each of the train cars has a GDP allowing constant observation of the transported goods.
BDZ points out that the goods carried by the new unit train service from Austria to Turkey and back, via Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria, "have been attracted from the truck and sea transport" services, and include consumer products and raw materials.
The company points out that the new container block train service via Bulgaria "has been realized as a result of the good marketing policy of the management of BDZ Freight Services", the freight department of the company, which is slated for privatization even though it seems to be its only profitable division.
The new container block train between Austria and Turkey will run four times weekly thus reducing the number of heavy trucks passing through Bulgaria by 136, the BDZ company has estimated.
BDZ Freight Services is aimed at attracting more and more goods and cargo traffic from its competitors – auto and sea transport – in order to make the unit train a regular daily service.
The management of BDZ Freight Services says it is continuing talks for two more regular container block trains from Turkey to Central Europe via Serbia.
Up until September 2011, container block trains had only passed through Bulgaria but had never been used on Bulgarian territory because of the lack of intermodal transport terminals with sufficient capacity.
A unit train, also called a block train, is train in which all the freight cars are shipped from the same origin to the same destination, without being split up or stored en route, a practice that saves time and money.
With the arrival of the first ever container block train in Bulgaria, the country formally becomes part of the European network of intermodal terminals connecting Lyon in France with Istanbul in Turkey, the Transport Ministry said.
The Bulgarian government has confirmed the intention of the Transport Ministry to go for the privatization of BDZ Freight Services, first announced in August 2011.
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